A Pentecostal revival of justice would bear all of the hallmarks of Luke’s story. In quick order the Spirit-driven church of Acts established a community where nobody was lacking. A revival today could bring that same ecstatic joy and establish a community oriented toward justice.
I have been interviewing thirty persons, mostly forcibly-terminated professors from Protestant and Catholic institutions, and several professionals who work with them. Their stories demonstrate a stunning depth of disillusionment. The majority of these often-ordained religionists feel so betrayed by the church that they – and often their families – refuse to be part of it anymore.
To express it very simply and briefly these are the Paul Ryan Republican Catholics who would look askance at anything like even a mild Bernie Sanders kind of socialism. The problem is that Sanders is more aligned with official Catholic teaching on the common good than is the former.
This Christmas season, what might it mean to live into the promise of hope fulfilled, when our pandemic experience means that hope strains against lost lives and lost livelihoods? Perhaps it involves visioning a redemption—one built on the social and economic implications of Jeremiah’s vision of those redeemed.
It is important to notice the ways in which economic language seeps into theology and to be attentive to the ways in which interpretations of scripture can either reinscribe exploitative harm or help imagine alternative possibilities for human flourishing.
Before the COVID pandemic, low-wage workers were already living in precarious circumstances because these jobs often lack benefits necessary to provide for health care and additional income necessary to build things like emergency savings and retirement funds.
The Syrophoenician woman sees herself as essential—both for herself and for her daughter. She is an uppity woman; we can assume that her daughter lived to often hear the tale, forming her as an uppity woman too.
I have argued that economic theology should lead to political praxis and change. Economic theology has to open a space for emancipatory politics that resists the capitalist future.
A second expression of relationality is covenant. It is a bond between distinct parties where each gives for the flourishing of the other. Unlike contract, which protects interests, covenant protects relationship.
Rendering to God what was God’s meant offering our lives as living sacrifices of worship to God, as one would offer coins as tax and tribute to one’s sovereign. The human was theologically monetized—or coined—in the name of dedication to God.
From an economic perspective, what we are all experiencing is as simple as it is painful: what we are experiencing is the voluntary and forced breaking down of the relationships we rely on to flourish as social creatures.